Sign language is a wonderfully beautiful way to communicate with your baby. Infants are naturally receptive to learning signs. Brain development at this age is strongest as children explore how to make body parts move—especially fingers. This age can also be a very tiresome, trying time when it comes to conveying needs.
Studies on this subject have shown some very interesting points. For example, kids who learn to sign before they can speak tend to be less frustrated. They seem to be at peace with their ability to communicate their needs. Parents with kids in their terrible twos find this extremely helpful.
Other research has found that signing children who have mastered spoken language are more communicative as a whole. The early communication training possibly makes vocabularies larger and ideas clearer. Testing is improved as well. It is believed that eye-hand coordination exercises neurons that that are used for math and logic.
Offering your baby the opportunity to enter the world well-armed for communication is a great gift and requires very little extra work. You can make up your own gestures or pick up a book that will guide you through specific signs. Begin signing with your child as early as you like, but don’t expect her to sign back until she’s 8 to 11 months old.
Choose a few basic signs to start with. Signs like I love you, eat, milk, change, more, yes and no work well for a first round. These are the things that are most important to your baby. Then you can encourage use, but don’t be pushy or overly expectant. Every child learns and responds in a different way at a different pace. Enforcing the use of signs doesn’t help the child feel more comfortable with using them.
Just as your child’s spoken vocabulary will grow, you need to make sure that their signing vocabulary grows as well. This fosters learning and keeps signing fresh and fun. Kids love new information. You’ll find that once your baby realizes she is communicating, she’ll be hungry for more words.
You’ll also find many uses for signs as your kids grow up. Being able to communicate silently is priceless. While on the phone, at the theater or out of earshot signs often come in handy. So get started today. You and your child will be enjoying this new skill for every tomorrow.You’ll